Processing My Feelings After Our Donor Disappeared

So yeah.  This is what happened.  Our donor is nowhere to be found, still.

I just can’t believe that this is happening to us.  I mean, I know that there is a possibility of donors bailing.  But I never thought that it would happen to us.  Not somebody who had donated twice before and followed through with everything that she needed to do.  One moment things were going well and we were on our way to our donor egg cycle.  The next moment, we are back at square one.  This journey is so unpredictable with so many twists and turns.

At 8am this morning, the phone rang literally when I was turning the door knob to walk out of the house for work.  It was our donor agency director.  Her voice was almost shaking.  She said that she had some bad news to tell me.  I came back into the house and sat down.  She told me that Iris, our donor, called to cancel the appointment with our clinic last Thursday saying that she had to go to work.  To our donor agency director, it was not a good sign, because it takes a long time to schedule an appointment with the clinic so once it is scheduled, a responsible donor should stick with it.  Anyhow, I guess it would have been fine for Iris to cancel the appointment if she had rescheduled it for another day.  But she didn’t.  Donor agency director tried to contact her, leaving her email, phone call, a longer email, and another phone call.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today.  No response.  Donor agency director said that she was totally surprised by this turn of events because she thought that the meeting with Iris went really well.  Iris, who met with the director prior to our meeting, never expressed any doubts about egg donation.  She in fact indicated that she would like to donate again even before the last donation was completed.  The director said that donor backing out is not unheard of, but doing so after meeting with the recipient couple (us) is more rare.  And usually the donors who back out would contact the director and give an explanation or a reason.  It’s quite rare for someone to disappear without returning any phone calls or emails.

Donor agency director was feeling horrible that we are in this situation.  I took it as well as I could on the phone.  I told her that it was okay as I’d rather have the donor bail right now than later in the process, which would definitely cause more heartaches and cost more money.  The agency director was praising me for my mature response.  But really, what could one do?  Screaming and yelling would not change the outcome.  I just didn’t understand what had happened there.  Agency director told me NOT to think it was because of us that the donor bailed.  We just won’t know what happened and what went through Iris’ mind.  We are now out $450 for the genetic counseling.  If she had completed the medical screening then bailed, then we would be out another $800.  We talked about other donors on her database.  We saw a fully Chinese donor last week and asked about that one.  Of course she has already been matched.   Bob was there so I updated him, and I went on my way as calmly as possible to work.  Poor Bob.  Today was his first day at his new job, and he sat there being stunned for ten minutes before he could get himself up to get ready for work.

However, on my way to work, I grew angrier and angrier, and utterly disappointed.  Why can’t we catch a break?  There has been so many road blocks from the first day we started trying for a baby.  Now that we have decided on egg donation, the road still has not been smooth at all.  I teared up in the car but didn’t cry.  I just felt awful that this was happening.  I prayed and asked God to sustain me for the day so I could still fulfill my duties at work.

I walked into my office and saw my Dear Colleague.  I couldn’t hold my tears anymore.  I started crying while my Dear Colleague gave me a hug.  I was feeling a little better after crying a little.  Unfortunately, I had to get myself together for my 9am client.  And unfortunately, his very pregnant mom was also there this morning (usually grandma brings him in).  It was extra tough to have her in the session while I was trying so hard to pull myself back to a reasonable state.  I struggled through the whole session and did the best that I could.  I was supposed to work on a project the rest of the morning.  I could not focus and was just staring into space.  I just felt very upset, angry, and disappointed.

I realize that I am not mourning the loss of this particular donor per se.  I have always told myself not to fall in love with any particular donor.  I know we can always find another donor.  But it is about the loss of time, the sense of loss of control, the timeline being pushed back, the huge sense of uncertainty, and the seeming impossibility to get pregnant by the end of the year.  It was also a sense of unfairness that this is so easy for some people and so tough for many of us who struggle with this.  I am angry.

I try not to second guess ourselves and wonder if it was something that we said, or the fact that we made a decision to meet with her that drove her away.  If I had to make a choice again, I would still choose to meet with our donor if at all possible.  Bob had great intuition about this one.  After Iris talked about the future and how she was uncertain about how she would feel about egg donation, Bob asked me several times last week what Iris meant by that.  He wondered if she meant that she wouldn’t donate to us.  I dismissed his observation and told him not to be silly because I really didn’t feel that she was moving towards that direction.  But I guess I sometimes have to trust my husband’s intuition.  The only odd moment that I remember was how Iris rushed out of the house forgetting her purse and had to rush back to retrieve it.  In the back of my mind, I wonder what the rush was.  But that one moment didn’t clue me in on her decision to bail.  I just didn’t see it.  But when we choose our future donor, we will still like to meet with her.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and we will proceed with it if the new donor is willing.

All morning I was on the verge of tears.  But being at work prevented me from really crying.  I just didn’t feel well at all.  I inclined to cancel my afternoon clients and just go home.  However, I also felt bad for canceling them.  I struggled for another hour, and decided to take care of myself first.  I sent my sister-in-law a text when I left at lunch time.  I thought that it would be better for me to process my feeling crying in front of a person with sympathetic ears than all by myself.  Fortunately, she was available and urged me to go cry at her house.

I walked in her door.  Once I opened my mouth, I could not control my tears.  I just cried and cried and cried.  My wonderful sister-in-law, bless her heart, situated me on the couch and surrounded me with tissue, water, chips, nuts, and Toblerone! In her presence, I just cried my eyes out, wondering aloud about our journey, all the road blocks, the uncertainty about the next steps, and feeling unloved by God.  After crying for about an hour, my breathing was more smooth, my heart rate slowed down, and my emotions had calmed considerably.  Then I stared to feel hungry.  My wonderful SIL fed me lunch before I went back home.  She is amazing.  I am so glad that every time I needed someone to support me, she is there.

The rest of the afternoon I just sat on the couch and chatted with my wonderful friends online.  I just needed to sit and be by myself.  I also began to think about options.  Maybe we’ll start thinking about the frozen eggs that are available from the Chinese/Korean donor at our clinic?  Maybe it’s worth exploring?  There aren’t too many choices on the agency’s database as of now.  So as for fresh donors, we don’t have choices until someone else pops up on the database.  We have to continue to wait.  Unless we pursue egg donation with frozen eggs, I don’t think we will have a transfer by Thanksgiving, our original timeline.

Every time crisis strikes, I am thankful for Bob as my husband.  He came home after his first day of work at his new job and we chatted about things.  He was calm and reassuring.  I know that maybe this hasn’t sunk it yet for him, and he may feel angry later.  He did feel angry this morning, but like he said, life goes on.  We chatted a little about frozen eggs and agree that it’s worth exploring.  But no doubt we have lost a bit of confidence in this process and may be taunted in the future by the fear that this may happen again if we choose a donor for a fresh cycle.

What if Iris shows up again with a good explanation?  I really don’t know if I can put my trust in someone who could be flaky and disappear again without contacting anyone.  The confidence is gone.  We will see how this is going to unfold.

I am so fortunate that my work is flexible, so I was allowed to process my feeling at my own pace.  I am ready for work tomorrow, and whatever that we will have to face.  I am sure that I will still need more time to wrap my mind around this, but I still believe that everything will work out in the end, not according to my own timeline, but according to God’s.  I just hope that we continue to have the strength and perseverance to keep up our faith.

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56 thoughts on “Processing My Feelings After Our Donor Disappeared

  1. I’m so so sorry. When I found out the surrogate we had so carefully selected, met with, and paid a lot of money to get through the approval process for the clinic

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  2. Ooops…sent before completed. The surrogate then revealed a history of heroin abuse! So I truly feel for you to have an egg donor disappear. It’s just a slap in the face. Big hug from NYC. …hang in
    there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, Elizabeth, it’s so horrible what you have gone through. I am so sorry that your surrogate withheld such important information. Talk about heartaches and loss of money. Big hug to you too. I hope that you will find another surrogate soon, if not done already. ❤

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  3. I agree with Elizabeth. This is a slap in the face. The parts of your post where you wrote about Iris saying she didn’t know how she would feel about bumping into either of you later and her dashing out, having borrowed a sweater, being self conscious about her tattoos… All made me pause. I wrote yesterday that she may need time to get her bearings because I had a sense the meeting unearthed something uneasy in her but I really really really don’t mean to suggest either that it was a mistake to meet with her or that you should take her back on board if she shows up with any explanation, even a good one. If she has done this now perhaps as in Elizabeth’s case she was not the right person for you and Bob? I am so sad for you and angry about the obstacles you’ve had to face.
    I think agencies don’t tell people how often donors – including “proven” donors – back out later. I know several women to whom this has happened so it cannot be as rare as some claim. I’m just so sorry and pissed that it happened to you and Bob.

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    • Yeah looking back, those were red flags. I should have been more in tune with these signs. But then I really didn’t think that this would happen. Given how responsible she was with the previous cycle, I just didn’t think that she would disappear. Yeah so now we are moving on to think about other donors. It’s so hard to shift gear so it may take us a little while before we can decide on one. The thing is, I think that it’s not rare for donors to back out, but to back out without an explanation leaves a bad taste in my mouth and tainted my experience and confidence in another donor. I know it is irrational to feel that way but I almost feel this PTSD. Anyhow, thanks girl. Just like any other time, we will be fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get that. I saw this play in NYC one of the weeks I was having to travel there for immune tests etc late last year. A key character was a young woman who disappeared (didn’t show up and didn’t notify anyone) when it really mattered. And got defensive when called on the selfishness and consequences of her actions (or inaction as it was). I was reminded them and am again now about the tremendous sense of entitlement with which many people of Iris’ generation have grown up and how limited a sense of not just personal but social responsibility and awareness they have or feel they ought to have. It’s remarkable. And devastating. On one hand I’m very sad to say I’m not at all surprised. On the other, I’m deeply disappointed and would feel the same way you do – bad taste in my mouth that embittered me about the whole process and the donors in it. Hugs, my friend. Of course you will move past this. You always do. In the meantime it hurts and it sucks and it’s disillusioning and I am sorry for your suffering. Again.

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  4. Oh my goodness, no! I can’t believe it. I’m so sorry to read this. You must be so disappointed and I definitely feel angry on your behalf. I know we don’t know why she has disappeared but she is seriously messing with people’s hearts and minds doing this. I hope you are holding up ok xx

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    • Oh yeah. There was no way I could’ve stayed at work. Really. I just needed a good cry and I had one. I went to work so much more refreshed this morning. Wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t take care of myself yesterday.

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  5. How absolutely heartbreaking. Honestly, I believe you did the right thing meeting her and I think she probably would have backed out even if you hadn’t. So thankful your SIL was there for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so so so sorry!! I was completely surprised when I read that, as your post about the meeting seemed like it went very well. Looking back, I think you and others are right, that something got stirred up in her and now she’s uncertain. Maybe she never really thought it through before. It’s easy enough to donate blood but to meet the person whose life it will save? That’s a heady thought.
    I know it isn’t much comfort now, because it wasn’t to me when I was trying, but God is working things out so that the child he has planned for you will be born. Had we not done IVF the exact month that we did, I wouldn’t have M and V, and they wouldn’t be twins. The wait and the struggles are worth having my two exact children, twins and all. It hurts now, but you will look back and be grateful for the miracle God worked through this twisted path to give you your exact child. Keep drawing your strength from Him.

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    • Yeah I edited my post yesterday and added the update after you had commented. Isn’t it crazy that this could happen? One moment things looked good, and it changed in the next moment. I hold the belief and comfort that my baby is out there somewhere waiting to be found. I am waiting for God’s miracle in my life. Thanks, girl.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry that she backed out, but I have to agree, it’s better she did now then half way through the process. I’m glad you found support in your SIL and Bob and I’m wishing you the best as you figure out your next steps.

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  8. Dammit. Your post yesterday sounded so great. WTF Iris?!? I’m so sorry that she has gone missing. I hope that you guys are able to find another donor soon and move forward.

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  9. Ugh I hate this for you. Seriously want you to catch a break. It sounds like it is much better to catch it early but doesn’t ease the pain. Hoping you come up with a backup plan soon.

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    • Thank you. yes it is still painful. I feel so much better today. We are looking at all the donors and I am not ready to pick one yet. So much to think about. It may take us some time…

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  10. I’m so sorry for this set back. My 2nd egg donor bailed a week into stims. She was not a first time donor either. She sent an email backing out. I was devastated. All I can tell you is your baby is out there waiting to be found. I would not have my specific babies who are perfect in every way if my second donor hadn’t flaked. It is unimaginable to me to not have “these” babies. Hang in there. I know how hard it is. But you are strong and will get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You don’t know how much your comment has lifted me up. I feel a lot better today than yesterday, but still feel a bit defeated that this has happened. You are right. I always think about your story and how your twin girls came to you. It’s the biggest miracle. And you are right, without the path that you went on, you wouldn’t have your twins. I am going to hold on to the hope and belief that our baby and we will unite one day.

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    • I am so fortunate to have my SIL, and so lucky that she was available! Yeah it has been really hard…. Yeah I opened my favorite bottle of wine last night and have been enjoying it!

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  11. I feel for you Isabelle….and I don’t know why this keeps happening to us…so much disappointment…and we try to take another path…and boom…another road block…but I keep going back and believing that it’s a part of God’s plan…like you said in your last paragraph…and keep having the faith to persevere to our child that will be ours one day…love to you..we will get there…I believe it….xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I, my friend, have gone through so much on our respective journey. I think about you often, about the path you have gone on, and the strength that you have. I just really want the both of us to reach our goals. And I truly believe that both of us will. We just don’t know the timing of things. You hand in there, too, friend. ❤

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  12. This post was a painful read. I’m so sorry for you having another setback. It’s so unfair.

    I’m certain beyond doubt that you are not unloved by G-d. You are an inspiration for so many, and I’m very thankful for how you share your pain in a way that makes it easier for me to get through the infertility trenches (and goodness knows it is not easy). Looking around, it’s obvious that if there was a correlation between G-ds love and the blessings of an easy life, G-d would have the most love for the wicked, ignorant and self-righteous. That makes absolutely no sense. Lots of very good people have difficult challenges. I know that doesn’t make your challenges easier, but I wish I could convince you that your doubts in G-d’s love are unfounded.

    Best wishes as you push ahead. You are so strong, not allowing yourself to get knocked down by this. You’re already up and planning forward. Amazing!

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    • Thank you for pointing out to me that I am not unloved by God. I knew that but on that one particular day, it was really tough to feel loved. It’s so hard to be positive right after getting bad news. I can tell you that I am feeling much better now and I know that God loves me. Thanks again for your support.

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  13. Oh. So sorry – It was painful for me to read through your updates. Can imagine what you must be going through. You are an inspiration for so many of us.. Be strong and hopeful! Hope God gives you the courage and patience to cross this tough time. You and Bob truly deserve great kids!! Just hang in there and things will get better for sure.. Will keep you in my prayers..

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  14. I am so sorry! And so thankful you had such great support. Let me know if you ever want info on frozen donor egg at Atlanta (no chance of donor backing out, eggs already retrieved, perhaps less anxiety for you). This journey has been far too long for you and I wish you peace!

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    • I had looked into RBA a while ago, and after you mentioned about it, looked into it again. The database has only one Asian donor. Did you do the guarantee program with 6 cycles and a live birth? I wonder about the program but with very few Asian donors it’s tough to even look into it without feeling defeated.

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  15. Honey, this seriously breaks my heart. You and Bob are so incredible, have been such pillars of strength and character. I’m somewhat shocked because of her proven hx, but those red flags are blazingly obvious now. I just wish she would have at least let you know that she was backing out. I’m thinking and praying for you both… I just want something to fall into place!!!! Hugs, lady!!!

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    • Hey there! Thanks for commenting and your support. Yeah things go well and things go down south. This journey has been very tough. Thanks for praying for us! I really hope that we get to cycle with a donor soon.

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  16. Oh Isabelle, getting caught up today and I am just so heartbroken for you. I just hate so much that you guys keeping getting tested like this, I hate it. Even though I am not around much I do think of you often and sending love and good thoughts that someday soon you will finally be on the other side of all of this struggle, it has been far too long and difficult and you and Bob have handled it all with such grace.

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    • Hi friend! Thanks for reading and commenting. I know… right? I thought that we got a break and things would go smoothly with a proven donor who just donated a couple of months ago. Guess that’s not the plan. Now we have to go back to the drawing board and decide on another donor. Looks like you are doing better with the feeding! That’s wonderful. I hope the sleep will get better soon for you too. ❤

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  17. I’m angry for you! This is f*d up. I’m sure that you will eventually be able to reflect on your experience with IF and say “Ok, I get it. I’m glad it’s over but I realize the value in my struggles.” But damn, this sucks. You are like the “American Ninja Warrior” of IF, and hopefully the grande finale is just around the corner, and then we can celebrate your victory. XOXO

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  19. I missed this last week, and I’m really sorry to catch up on what has happened. Nothing about infertility is easy to cope with. Throw in the complications of being at the mercy of other people’s emotions/thought processes/baggage. and it’s really tough. My heart goes out to you.

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  20. I am so sorry to see this. I have been a horrible blog reader lately. Just another delay when you feel like you have gotten so close – breaks my heart sweetie. Hugs from afar, so many hugs from afar.

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